Thursday, September 25, 2014

October Dates at a Glance!

Photo by Andrew L.  during a Photography E.B.  

This Month's Theme:  "Magic"

Wednesday,   October 1st     Kindergarten P.J. Day!  Wear your pajamas today!

Thurs. & Fri. Oct. 2nd &3rd    No School- Teacher's Professional Development Days

Thursday       October 9th      Picture Retake Day!
                                               K Buddies/Library Day  3-3:30
                                               1st SK Community Meeting in the evening

Friday,           October 10th    Trip to Wild Swan Theatre to see "Frog and Toad"

Tuesday,        October 14th    Trip to Three Cedars Orchard, Northville MI

Mon.-Fri.      Oct. 20th-24th   Kindergarten Parent/ Teacher Conferences (Please sign up   in the classroom or via email)

Tuesday, October 21st          Rescheduled trip to 3 Cedars Orchard 9:00 A.M.
                                             "Day of the Dead" bread making celebration with Dayna! 2pm

Thursday, October 30th         EBs/ Exploratory Blocks begin!  2:30-3:30 P.M.
(6 sessions, multi-age, elective classes)  Description selections for your child to choose from will be emailed soon. Sessions also take place on 11/6,11/11,11/13,11/18, & 11/20.

Friday, October 31st              Eco-Fair  This annual SK event includes your child creating a unique,  eco-friendly costume at home to wear at school for an all school parade and special activities.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Magical and Wonderful first weeks of school!

Kindergartners (and the whole school for that matter) eagerly began our theme unit of "Magic/Alice in Wonderland."  We are finding this book/topic to be a very appropriate start to a very magical and wonderful school year so far.  We have been listening to various versions of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland books including The Nursery Alice written for Carroll's youngest fans at Circle Time.  We have also been deciphering vocabulary words such as "curious," "curtsying," and "comfits" and decided if we would indeed sip out of a bottle that merely stated, "drink me" (over half of us would by the way.)  We talked a bit about the Victorian Childhood era and used clues from illustrations to determine that this book was not written recently.  We also found out that Lewis Carroll's "nonsense" way of telling stories was not so typical for that time.  Ks had lots of comments about their theories related to the extinction of the dinosaur while looking at the book's reference to a "Dodo."  Kindergartners were intrigued by the notion of a "caucus race" and attempted one (thanks to Joshua's suggestion) during recess time.  We did not get very far, however, because our clothes were already quite dry.  Check out our "Through the Looking Glass" portraits outside of the Kindergarten classroom!

Math, in Kindergarten, is hands on, manipulative rich, and hopefully fun!  We have been making representations of numbers using dots (lots and lots of dots.)  We then transferred some of those skills to a massive game of dominoes.  We made several attempts to problem solve connecting all of our pieces together as a whole group and were successful after several trys.   Keen observation skills, patience, and cooperation were all bonus lessons.  We cheered our efforts!  We also practiced writing our own domino math problems and worked in our math packets to assist us with reinforcing recently acquired information.  

Another Math lesson involved finding out just how tall the "fifteen inch door" was that Wonderland's Alice found behind a little curtain.  We first estimated with a piece of string then measured our actual string length.  Our predictions ranged from 8-14 inches!  We also measured the length of our own bare feet versus its size when we had on shoes.  This also produced a wide range of answers.  Kindergartners could not have the 'wonder' without the 'magic', however.  We partnered up and attempted our own  "slight of hand" magic tricks during Friday's Math time.  We played a version of "the shell game" that began by hiding a ball between two cups then guessing which one and eventually increased the game in difficulty to 5 cups.   Ks were good sports and took turns at being ever so tricky with their prediction (and hiding) skills.

What's the matter?  Well, Shan Science classes included lessons in "matter."  Kindergartners created their own "Oobleck" that has the amazing ability to be a solid and a liquid at the same time.  They also did an experiment using baking soda to form a gas.  Ks also ventured outdoors to find various examples of matter around our school yard.  They stated that  nature, the water hose, the bus, and the stop sign were solids but the water inside the hose and the pond and the gas in the bus' gas tank were examples of a liquid.    They also concluded that the mist in the  sunscreen can and gas fumes were examples of liquid/gas! 

Our first Art class began with readings of Journey on a Cloud: A Children's  Book inspired by a Painting by Marc Chagall by Veronique Massenot and Dreamer from a Village:  The Story of Marc Chagall by Michelle Markel.  We read how Russian painter, Moshe (Marc) Chagall was  a sickly baby who grew up to be one of the most imaginative painters of all time.  He depicted his surroundings, dreams, and feelings using vivid colors and soft brushstrokes  and created imaginative figures that appear to literally float in mid air.  He also particularly loved vibrant blue so we just had to experiment with both technique, subject matter, and color!  We first drew our "dreams" and at our next session created non- traditionally colored "magical animals" just like those found in Chagall's work.   Check out our paintings and explanations of our work inside of the K classroom!  Some examples include:  

"It's my kitty...he's super makes it magical because it has yellow eyes.  It really does!"-L.C. 

"(This is a) magical sheep on top of a magical house.  It was a long time ago.  A long time ago, pets had to be (kept) on top of people's houses."
-  E.McG

"There was a magical animal and then they got painted by a people.  They will never get off the page."- J.L. 

Choice Time looks differently on different days.  Some of our favorite activities, however,  include painting at easels and drawing with markers, lounging in the quiet corner, playing board games, building revolving structures with manipulatives, and  gathering on our playground.  We have also been doing a bit of weeding in our garden-some as tall as we are!   

Every Thursday afternoon is K Buddy time with Mrs. Carpenter's 1/2 Graders.  We have been treated to delightful stories by our Library Media Specialist and After School/Camp Director Rachel and Mrs. Carpenter. We are also able to check out up to three books to bring home for two weeks if desired.

Kindergartners are already beginning to compose their own songs and have jam sessions in Music class with Teacher Josh!

Latin class with Madame has produced lovely formal introductions in Latin, beautiful stories from Greece,  and artfully crafted Latin writing folders.

Our first lost tooth of the year!

This reminded me of Alice longingly peering into Wonderland's garden! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

On Golden Pond (and other places) at Howell Nature Center!

Braving sweltering temperatures, Kindergartners dismounted our school bus to a paradise of nature!  We dropped off our gear and refreshed ourselves then headed right out past  a breathtaking view of the lake to one of 3 informative workshops.  
Our first "Fur and Feathers" class consisted of entering a room with several mystery cages.  Kindergartners could hardly wait for each furry or feathery animal to be revealed.   We were surprised that this hawk (left) had a somewhat surprising call.

We also examined a flying (actually gliding) squirrel  and a boxed turtle.  The stars of the show, however, were the gigantic owl that performed a dramatic wing flap, and an opossum that appeared to magically respect the boundaries of  a table top.  
We learned that the creatures residing at Howell Nature Center now receive "a very good life" and were there because they had been injured and/or were so domesticated that they would not survive in the wild.   We were also told that if we had the vision of an owl's, our eyes would actually be the size of our cupped  hands over them. 

Lunch was the second item on our itinerary. We were treated to our own or tasty burgers and chips, fruit, salad greens, refreshing lemonade, and hardy conversation!   

After our meal, we headed out to our second class, "Pond Exploration."   Ks were proposed a challenge of investigating the health of the pond water after being given a list of tale telling clues.   

Kindergartners eagerly teamed up with a partner and a larger than life net to dredge the shoreline.  After mastering the "scoop, lift, rinse and shake, investigate with a spoon" technique, many discoveries were made and several specimens collected. 

I think that the parents had as much fun as the children with this activity!

Slugs, intact snails, and tadpoles were among our findings.    Very large frogs (not on our collection list),  did I mention very large frogs? were on hand to spy and cheer us on.  In conclusion, all of our efforts confirmed our predictions of "good" to "very good" water  health at the nature center! Thumbs up!

Our third and final class (sorry not pics) included a hike to a simulated Native American site complete with a giant wig wam.  Several games were at our disposal to test our survival skills.  Kindergartners could't wait to try their hand at "spear" throwing through a suspended hoop, a basket toss, a rock sort (of sorts), and to  a game of steal the rock.  Our time was cut short, however, as children became pooped out from the heat.  We returned to our lodge, boarded our bus, and chatted all the way back to school- exhausted and just in time for the end of the day.  Yea for the first weekend of the school year! 

I think the frog has a great idea.